Many years ago, I was a swimmer, I swam in high school for my team and I really enjoyed it, but I wasn’t all that good. I didn’t quite get that competitive swimming was different than recreational swimming when I first joined the team, but nonetheless, I did my best. My best was not awesome. For anyone in the know, my breast stroke time was as fast as my freestyle (this might be good if either of my times were fast, but I had an average breast stroke time and a horrible freestyle time). My coach wanted to help me get better at my freestyle technique, so he videotaped me swimming (no easy feat in the early 90s) and it was rough. I was all over the place and really awkwardly uneven. My coach had been trying to convince me that I should breathe every 3 strokes in an attempt to even out my stroke, my haphazard movement, but it wasn’t until I saw that video that I knew I needed to do something to change how I went about swimming freestyle. When I started to breath every 3 strokes, it felt really uncomfortable, but the next time I was videotaped, by stroke looked a million times better than it did before. By breathing every 3 strokes, my body had evened itself out and I had a better balance as I swam.
One of my favorite things about yoga, especially ashtanga yoga, is seeing my own growth. Because we do the same thing every day, I can tell day to day how a pose is changing and feeling different. I can actually feel things changing. Some times, this happens without any help and instruction, but 9 times out of 10 a teacher will say something to me, something that I have probably heard before more often than not, but it just clicks and like magic, things change.
My hope with this series is to share one of my favorite tips from some of my favorite teachers because maybe it will be the right time for you too!
So, to get us started, I'm going to start with my most recent favorite tip. To be completely honest, I have a bit of a love/hate (a lot of the time it is mostly hate) relationship with back bends. They hurt for years, frustrated me when they stopped hurting, and they still make my heart race. I recently learned how to drop back and stand up, and most importantly stand up from urdhva dhanurasana. It is all so hard, but I love that it is starting to click.
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